We get asked about attention span relatively often. Questions like “How valuable is the visual attention displayed by our eye-tracking heatmaps since our attention span is so short?” and ”Do we nowadays just absorb less information since our attention span has decreased?”. These are all vital questions, so in this blog, we want to shed some light on this.
With all the information we’re being bombarded with daily, it's necessary to understand the relationship between attention, consideration, and the believed reduction of our attention span. Because, despite what many people would acknowledge most of us aren't scatterbrained individuals, so let's find out why!
The attention of a goldfish analogy has received a lot of traction over the recent years, but undeservingly so since it’s frankly a complete myth. This comparison was pushed to the forefront based on a study from the Consumer Insights team of Microsoft Canada. They surveyed 2,000 Canadians and analyzed the brain activity of 112 people when carrying out different tasks.
However, the most talked about figure on the reduction of attention was cited from a different source which was not able to verify this data. So no, there is no evidence human attention spans are shrinking, additionally, it appears that goldfish don’t suffer from a short attention span either.
When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense anyways, we can still focus our attention on a lot of things for a very long time. We only need to mention Netflix to remember how many TV shows people can consume for hours upon end (binge watch much lately?).
The only logical conclusion is that our attention span is actually still the same, so something else must have changed. As it turns out, the answer needs to be sought in our consideration. So let's find out how that works.